Letter – W.H. Mann, 1 September 1861

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Letter written by civilian W. H. Mann of Athol, Massachusetts, to Joseph W. Luce of Charlotte Center, NY. Mann writes that farming is usually be a successful venture, but business is at a stand-still due to the war. Unemployment rates are high, and wages are low. He mentions that support for the Union is high. He has heard a rumor that the Confederates were advancing to Washington D.C., and mentions thousands of troops coming up the Potomac and from Manassas Junction. In a later section dated September 3rd, Mann writes about two Confederate forts that were captured in North Carolina. He thinks that the U.S. Government will ultimately prevail, as “the South was the first aggressor.”


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Sept 1st 1861

Friend Joseph,

I once before got pen and paper in order to answer your letter but for some reason got called away and have let it go untill now

You enquire about writing wheather it would be a successful business here now or rather the ensuing winter At any other time I think there would be a fair prospect but business at this time is very near at a a stand still The war has knocked every thing wrong end fore-most at present This vicinity is more of a manufacturing than farming country and consequently is more affected Thousands of people are out of employment and wages are less than 1/2 as high as they were 2 or 3 years ago There is very little except strong union feeling in this neighborhood over sixty able bodied men have gone from Athol to the aid of their country money is shelled out like water Here as in most places north

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all parties go in for the union News came last night that the rebels are going were advancing on Washington and that a great battle was at hand it may be so & may not 180000 were coming up the Potomac & 120000 coming by land from Manassas Junction

Sept 3d evening

you probable get the war news as soon as we so I will turn to other subjects the latest I have heard was the capture of 2 new secession forts in N Carolina by a fleet of ours

I hope this rebelion will be put down in a manner that it will stay down a spell It is going to be a hard struggle but with good management I think the right side will conquer (i.e.) the U.S. Government Evry man of reason will can see that the South were the first egressors Any government that is a government ought to try to sustain its self but enough about the war.

We have not heard from Uncle H for a long time and should really like to

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Hay came in very good this season all crops look well wheat not so good as last year We have had some warm weather but the season has been cool generaly I have built a house & barn such as they are within a little over a year

I have got a yok of stags 3 cows 2 calves 2 old hogs & 4 pigs and over 30 fowls I hardly know wheather I am doing well or not the times are so hard but I am in hopes they will soften before long

Beef is selling here for $5 per cut to average it Pork 3 cts corn southern & western 60 per bush (lowest ever known) meal has been $1.15 per cwt in Athol

Tell all to write and I will try and be more prompt in future I write so little I do not feel much like writing

Give my best respects to all and tell them a line would be very acceptable and I hope more promptly replyed to

JW Luce Yours truly W H Mann

Letter – William Moore, 12 April 1862

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Letter written by Private William Moore of Company H, 44th NY Infantry, “Ellsworth’s Avengers,” to Joseph W. Luce of Chautaugua County, NY. Moore writes that his regiment travelled down the river to Fortress Monroe before heading to Yorktown, VA. He writes about the fighting at Yorktown, including the dead and wounded. Moore is on picket within range of the Confederate fort. The day before, Confederate forces drove into the pickets, but the Union troops were able to drive them back. He describes soldiers having fun tossing around two unexploded shells that fell into the camp. He also mentions Professor Thaddeus Lowe’s balloon.


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to Willard

and Joseph, April 12th 1862

let them all read it if they can

Dear Friend

I received you letter a long time ago and started on a martch the next day and have had no time to write before or to send it out Milton is to washington sick Lon and my self are well and ready to fight we cam down the river and landed at fortress Monroe and have made our way threw to york town one week ado today started from big beathel in the morning and got here at noon and had quite a fight in the afternoon most of the firing with cannon and shell the loss on our side was, 3, and 7 wounded

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2 of them was in the batery one had his scull took off with a piece of shell the other was hit with a round shot in the side and cut almost into [in two] the other had his leg cut off below the hip and bled to death the others will get well this I see my self they was burried sunday in front of our camp we have lost 6 men sence on picket and, 8, wounded that is all that we have lost no loss in the 44th Regt only a wounded one in the breast and one in the corner of the eye but not bad to day I am on picket withen gun of the fort we hafter lay down or get shot and crawl on our hands and nees to our post and back then get shot at from the rifle pits

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so you see that we hafter lay low for black ducks yesterday there was [# value?] rebels came out to drive in our pickets just as soon as they came out of the pits we give it to them we had 500 pickets and they fell most every shot they carried off, 20, this morning we dont know how many they carried away lat night they wounded 4 of the sharp shooters slitely and run abck into their hole satisfied they throw shell all over from the fort but it dont mount to any thing 2 fell in our camp but did not explode the boys are throwing them around for amusement they have shot

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4, or, 5,,, over my head this afternoon I guess about 200 feet high we can here them hum [this?] last saturday one took a boys knapsack and tore it off from his back and never hurt him at all that I see dun they have not hit me yet but they shoot dreaful car[e]less we have been here a week today and have not dun mutch yet we are waiting for something I dont know what it will take some fighting to take this place yet they have got 6 miles of brestworks the old balloon is here so that we can take a peak at them Gen MC was looking at them all day last sunday I think that he knows all about the place I must stop dyrect the same as before I cant tell half I want to so good bye

William Moore


WILLIAM MOORE enlisted as a private in Company H, 44th NY Volunteer Infantry on September 19, 1861 at Albany, NY, aged 21. He was mustered out at Albany, NY on October 11, 1864. The 44th New York Infantry was one of the state’s most prominent and elite units. The men were recruited according to a specific criteria: to be unmarried, less than age 31, at least 5’8” in height, and of high intelligence. Dressed in Zouave uniforms for the first year of service, they became known for their hard fighting and able service. As part of the 5th Corps, the 44th served in the same brigade as Joshua Chamberlain’s 20th Maine at Gettysburg, and were among the heroic defenders of Little Round Top on July 2d 1863.